What is it about?

Biomass is known to be a promising renewable source of fuel. Owing to the lesser amount of carbon in it, such biofuel can lessen carbon emissions. It can be used as an alternative to the currently used fuels in the transportation sector, which is a major consumer of fuel. However, it is important to develop efficient, cost effective, and scalable ways for its production. In this study, the authors report recent progress in the methods used for producing such low carbon biofuels. This includes a two step process which uses an equal mix of pine and forest waste as raw materials for the fuel. The first step makes use of a catalyst to break down the complex biomolecules in the biomass into bio oil at high temperatures. The oxygen in the bio oil is also removed for higher quality fuel. In the second step, the bio oil is refined by mixing it with diesel in a 10:90 ratio.

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Why is it important?

In the United States, 50 to 60 billion gallons of biofuels can be produced from biomass alone. This could reduce the consumption of petroleum by up to 30%. However, large scale biofuel production is currently costly and challenging. The above method can tide over these challenges. It is ecofriendly and reduces carbon emissions by 78%, compared to fossil fuel based methods. The produced low carbon fuel can be used in heavy vehicles, where reducing carbon emissions is a priority. The method lowers the cost of the catalyst by reducing the amount of precious metal in it. It also captures valuable chemicals, such as acetone and 2 butanone, from the biomass. As a result, the improved process economics can reduce the cost of producing biofuels. KEY TAKEAWAY: The biofuel production method reported here can beat cost and efficiency issues by saving catalyst costs and recovering valuable chemicals. Thus, the approach is promising for large scale production of low carbon biofuels. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 13 - Climate Action • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

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This page is a summary of: Advancements and challenges in the production of low-carbon fuels via catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass through refinery integration and co-product generation, Green Chemistry, January 2023, Royal Society of Chemistry,
DOI: 10.1039/d3gc01574b.
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